Monday, September 21, 2009

iTunes Running Diary – Monday, September 21 – Ben Folds

This week's artist.

I don't have a ton of time today, so I thought I'd keep this entry somewhat simple for myself: I will be sticking to the music of Mr. Ben Folds today, because he is awesome. He is like a straight Elton John, and although this alone doesn't make him better, I do enjoy his music quite a bit more. Putting his songs on shuffle and letting them rip:

- "Emaline (Live)" is probably my favorite "slow" Ben Folds song, especially this version from his live album. The piano is especially tranquil and matches his voice well, and the lyrics are clear and crisp despite their longing nature. This clarity is something I've always liked about Ben's songs. (Yes, him and I are on a first-name basis.) Even if the song's meaning has some ambiguity - it seems to me like a failed past relationship, like a lot of his songs - you can at least hear most of the lyrics and sing along if you wish.

I listened to this song a lot when I was breaking up with someone; relax, it's not any of you reading this. Ben's music in general is pretty swell for that task, actually.

- "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" is the first track off of Whatever And Ever Amen, and it strikes the perfect note for the rest of the album. It is frantic, energetic and wild, between Ben's lyrics and piano and the rest of the band. It is a nice appetizer for what is to come.

The song always reminds me of driving frantically to and from high school. Back in the day, all of Whatever And Ever Amen was in heavy rotation on a CDR I had, along with a couple songs from the follow-up album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

- "Rockin' The Suburbs" from the album of the same name gets a bit too much flack to me. So what, he's not playing the piano. It's still a great pop / rock / alternative song! I'd much rather listen to "Rockin' The Suburbs" than a lot of what is out on the radio today. It's not traditional Ben Folds, no, but the experimentation is close enough to his previous work that I enjoy it. It is similar situation to me as to when The Beastie Boys actually play instruments as opposed to just rap over a soundtrack.


  1. Brick was the first song I heard. It was so sad & made me fall in love with him/his music.

    I saw him a few years ago at the yachting center in newport. It was pretty awesome.

  2. Danielle, ugh, I still haven't seen him in concert! He's supposed to be coming to Warwick or Providence in a couple weeks, but tickets start at $35, which is kind of a lot for me.

  3. If you haven't heard it already you should download his new song with Regina Spektor..."You Don't Know Me." In general I'm not a huge Ben Folds fan but there are certain songs I like and that one is fantastic.

  4. Steve I am going to take your recommendation on Ben Folds. I amd going to lookup those songs mentioned above on youtube. I have to be in the right mood for this kind of music though. (Right now on my iPod is Mary J f/Drake "the one"). The video for "you don't know me" was kinda weird. I thought it was going to be a cover (not the one by T.I.--I have heard it covered by Nat King Cole, Ray Charles etc). I think out of the three I like Brick the best.

    Yahoo had an article up the other day about musicians who are losing/have lost their voice. One of them was Elton John and they had a video of Tiny Dancer 35 years ago, then him playing that song today--and then...Ben Folds covering the song! I feel like Eric Devin is a fan of his and I always think of him when someone mentions Ben Folds. Maybe he's not. Anyway as we say on facebook: "like".

  5. Hey Sara, I am familiar with his new-ish tune with Regina. I like the part where the exchange lyrics, because it's kind of unique and original, but otherwise I think the chorus is a little boring. Still, a subpar Ben Folds song still means it has like 100 listens on my iTunes.

    And also, is this Sara Day, or some other Sara?

  6. Mike Smith! I'm glad you're going to give Ben Folds a try. You might like the song "Kate" a bit better than the ones I listed; because of its title I always think of Kate Fales when listening to it.

    Of his other popular songs, you'd probably like "Army" and "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You". Both are a bit more upbeat, and they rely mostly on piano as opposed to synthesizer. The lyrics for both are kind of funny, too.

  7. Sara is, in fact, Sara Day. I can see the chorus being boring. The exchange between the two of them is my favorite part and I really like her in general so that was really all I needed to like the song.

  8. I did think it was you, Sara Day! Congrats!


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